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Derry can now Erne spurs in style

 

By John Campbell

It's perhaps early days yet but already a marked championship flavour is percolating through the normally mundane Allianz Football League.

And you can bet that nowhere will this be more in evidence than at Brewster Park, Enniskillen on Saturday night where Fermanagh will find themselves in opposite corners.

While Rory Gallagher's Ernesiders will enter the fray seeking a fourth successive win that would considerably shorten the odds on their chances of gaining promotion from Division Three, Derry will not just be hungry but ravenous for what would be a second win to complement their fine victory over Offaly yesterday.

While Damian McErlain's side were breaking their duck at Celtic Park, it was business as usual for Fermanagh who clinically disposed of the challenge of a less cohesive Sligo side.

Since the start of the year, new boss Gallagher has mapped out a game plan that appears to maximise the talent he has at his disposal and in a comfortable 0-13 to 0-8 win yesterday his team's commitment and indeed versatility came to the surface again.

By half-time Fermanagh had built up a 0-8 to 0-4 lead and this after Niall Ewing, Stephen Coen and Pat Hughes had swept Sligo into an lead side that suggested there was even better to come from them.

But the combined experience of the McCuskers, Declan and Paul; Aidan Breen, Barry Mulrone and Seamus Quigley helped to sustain Fermanagh's momentum. And the side did more than enough to hint that the tie against Derry on Saturday will be feisty and absorbing.

Just across the county border Fermanagh's neighbours Monaghan were enjoying another slice of league progress as they inflicted a first defeat on Kerry.

Malachy O'Rourke's team looked efficient as they constructed a 1-9 to 0-6 half-time lead, their goal coming from a controversial Conor McManus penalty before their composure saw them come out on top by 1-13 to 0-14.

Cavan, though, almost tripped themselves up against Meath by surrendering an eight-point lead before scrambling to a two-point victory (2-14 to 2-12).

Meanwhile, there was joy for three Ulster inter-county players as UCD chiselled out a 1-13 to 2-9 win over NUIG in the Sigerson Cup final at Santry, Dublin.

Peter Healy (Antrim), Conor McCarthy (Monaghan) and Luke Fortune (Cavan) all played their parts as the Dublin seat of learning just managed to cross the line ahead of their opponents.

Belfast Telegraph

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